Nancy Sage Shea

Mill Neck, N.Y.,

Nancy Sage Shea, 80, of Mill Neck, N.Y., passed away at home surrounded by her family on Saturday, July 24, 2021. She was born in Baltimore, Md., to DeWitt Linn Sage and Elizabeth Wickes (née Young) Nichols. In her formative years, she attended Calvert School in Baltimore before going on to Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va. After completing Bradford Junior College, she graduated from Columbia University’s School of General Studies with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963.


Nancy’s love of art and order led her to work at Sotheby’s in New York City and then at the Museum of Modern Art’s Office of the Registrar. In the spring of 1973, she became the registrar that oversaw the move of the vast Hirshhorn Collection to its new home, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.


She was married to her devoted husband, Peter Lane Shea, in Northeast Harbor, on Aug. 2, 1975, which she continually reminded everyone was the hottest day ever recorded (102 degrees!) in her cherished summer home. For 22 years they lived together in New York City and Locust Valley, N.Y., until his untimely passing.


Nancy was the proud mother of Jamie, grateful mother-in-law of Caitie, doting grandmother of Cooper (a soon-to-be big brother) and loyal sister of DeWitt and Linn Sage. She also loved her three stepsons, Chris, Andy and Ed, their wives Bea, Susy and Brooks and especially their eight children. Her friends and family remember her as a true “character” and will miss her unfiltered, intelligent and witty commentary on the world around her.


A memorial will be held at her home in Mill Neck at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations to help preserve two of Nancy’s favorite places may be made in her honor to Friends of Acadia and the North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary


Know when to pay your respects.